Madam - I like to roam about in a dressShort and sweet for you this week.

But we’re returning to one of the aims of this blog – which unlike how it might appear, was not set up to whinge about my maid’s lack of dusting – but instead to champion the charm of Indian English over Standard English.

So the charming word for this week is ‘roam’.

In India it’s used much more frequently than I’m used to at home. Here it means no more than ‘to walk about’. Which technically, is of course, what it means in Standard English. But there it has an element of distance, or itinerancy and general vagueness.

In India, it has none of those shades of meaning and really does mean no more than walk about. So you get lovely formations like ‘I like to roam about the neighbourhood with my son’ – which conjures up for me images of adventures and pastures new, rather than perambulating a small child for the purposes of getting fresh air, which was the specific meaning.

And a lady at my last work told me once, ‘I like to roam about in a dress at home’.

Obviously she meant that she likes to wear a dress at home when she’s being relaxed (I was telling her I mostly wear yoga gear at home, as it’s so comfortable). But ‘roam about in a dress’ filled my mind with intrepid adventures ‘roaming’ far from home.

Yes, you’re right. Quite possibly I should get out more.

Incidentally, since I’ve been working from home – I may, quite possibly, have let myself ‘go’ a little. These days I don’t so much wear yoga gear for comfort, as get a bit annoyed when I have to wear ‘outside’ wear. You know, the sort of clothing that it might be respectable to be caught in by the neighbours – rather than fabulously comfy, stretchy clothes suitable for the gym.

There was one week when I was working spectacularly hard and hadn’t managed to leave the house very much (a terrible habit of mine), and when it came to laundry day… the entire wash was just five pairs of yoga pants, seven stretchy tops and… well that was it.

Hmmm, maybe I should roam about at home in a dress sometimes…


If you’ve enjoyed this post you might well like these very tenuously linked other posts about English usage in India. Which is actually what this whole blog is supposed to be about (focus Liz, focus!). Read more here:

It’s not take out, it’s a parcel
Your friend is waiting?
Seatbelt is broken Madam, no problem

And as ever, do please comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.